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CEC's good suggestions

Prem sent over the following URL to be "cleaned up" and posted. Here it
is. This wise man who is our CEC must be heard very carefully. Lots of
good points here. 


I would favor adopting many of his points (can somebody pl. summarize) for
the 'ideal' manifesto/ agenda. I have a feeling we need a SuperMan to do
the summarizing of all these good things. Else, the manifesto we are
writing will never get written while we focus on the act of debate.
SuperMan, please rise and take over the task of summarizing things.

Gill moots radical poll reforms 
NEW DELHI, Aug. 2 (Agencies) 

Chief Election Commissioner M.S. Gill has suggested radical reforms in the
electoral system, including an "Open vote" for the Rajya Sabha elections
and polling of minimum percentage of votes to make any election valid.

He also suggested holding of two rounds of elections wherein more than two
candidates fight the first round followed by a run-off between the two top
candidates with the winner mandatorily getting a minimum of 51 per cent of

"It will have a tremendous impact on the Indian polity... and our
political parties with whatever sectional focus they might have will be
forced to seek a larger plurality of votes and reach out to more people,"
Gill said in a wide-ranging interview to 'Eenadu Television'.

A minimum percentage of votes must be polled to make any election valid or
fresh elections held, he said, adding that Parliament should decide on the
percentage whether it is 20, 30, or 40.

Referring to the recent Rajya Sabha biennial elections which witnessed
cross-voting in Maharashtra, the Chief Election Commissioner aid, "Since
50 years have shown that Indian political system is basically a party
system, we should make the Rajya Sabha vote open."

He said an open ballot would make people accountable to their parties on
why they voted against their party for somebody "totally outrageous" and
whether money power made them do it.

Emphasising the need to eradicate money and muscle power during elections
to the Upper House, Gill said otherwise the problem will get worse.

"What sort of elders will be sitting there then," he asked adding
short-term advantages would not help much. 

All major parties who might have won a seat this time will lose in the
long run.  Like the defection law, if it goes on in the long run "very
party will have a defection sometime or the other," he said adding, "Goa
is going through some thing of the kind today. "

He, however, supported corporate funding of political parties saying that
even trade unions, share holders in businesses and an ordinary citizen
were allowed to contribute But stressed the importance of transparency,
proper records and reasonable limit without any under-the-table dealing.

About the defection law, Gill said the decision relating to anti-defection
should be taken up by the President or Governors on the advice of the
Election Commissioner.

"To impose this duty on any Speaker when he is active in his (political) 
career is not a fair one. Either his tenure or nature of his election
should be changed or if Parliament feels it, this duty be given to the
commission which will be prompt to send formal recommendations to the
President for Parliament and to the Governors for the Assembly," he said.

Denying that there was a tussle between the Commission and the government
on more powers for the panel, Gill said, "We don't want to get simply more
powers for power's sake and we are very clear that Parliament is supreme
in democracy." 

About presidential form of Government, he said though the Constitution
needed some fine-tuning "here and there a multicultural society of a
billion people could not be ruled by one man. "

He favoured fixing a minimum educational qualification for legislators
saying it would be desirable to have more educated and better educated
persons as ministers and members of Parliament.

Reiterating that criminals should be kept out of politics, he said either
anybody who has been convicted for six months should be banned from
seeking elections or a person should be kept out even if charges are
framed against him.

"The second proposal is a little more outrageous... but in our system the
really dangerous man is hardly prosecuted," he said.

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